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Recommendations for where to store estate planning documents

There are numerous reasons to develop a thorough estate plan early in life. It ensures your loved ones honor your wishes after death, but that is dependent on your family members being able to locate the documents. 

You should have multiple copies of your last will and testament as well as any other documents associated with the estate plan. Ultimately, you need to keep this paperwork in safe and easily accessible locations. In addition to making sure your attorney has a copy available, you should also keep copies in the following spots: 

In the home or office

You should review your estate plans at least once a year. This gives you an opportunity to see if any changes are necessary due to a shift in circumstances. For example, if you had a child within the last year, then you would want to update the plan to add your daughter or son as a new beneficiary. Keeping a copy in your home or office space allows you to read the document easily to see if you need to alter anything. 

When keeping the document at home, keep it in a safe so that no one else can access it. You do not want to risk someone making alterations that go against your wishes. Additionally, keeping it in a safe protects it in the event of a fire or natural disaster. 

In a safe deposit box at the bank

Many people enjoy the peace of mind of keeping a will or trust inside a safe deposit box at the bank. If you do this, then you should place the box under the name of a revocable living trust. This allows the trustee to gain immediate access to the box after your death. Otherwise, your family may need to go through the courts to gain access to the box, which can be time-consuming. 

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